Don’t underestimate ‘The Crown’ at the Emmys: It swept the last time it was eligible

“The Crown” is in an interesting position at the Emmys. The last time it was eligible at the awards it ran the board in unprecedented fashion. In 2023, however, it ranks fifth in our odds for Best Drama Series. Are we underestimating the period drama?

The Netflix series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II has been nominated for Best Drama Series every season it has been on the air, but it was season four that took the show into the stratosphere. In 2021 it achieved a sweep of all prime time telecast categories, an unprecedented feat for dramas. It claimed Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actor (Josh O’Connor), Best Drama Actress (Olivia Colman), Best Drama Supporting Actor (Tobias Menzies), Best Drama Supporting Actress (Gillian Anderson), Best Drama Writing (for the episode “War”) and Best Drama Directing (also for “War”).

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So why wouldn’t the show just pick up where it left off? Well, for starters, the show overhauled its cast for the second time, so most of the principal performers who won in 2021 have been replaced by older actors as the story advanced to the next stage in the characters’ lives. We have yet to see how this configuration of “The Crown” will be greeted by awards voters.

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Perhaps more importantly, though, this will be the first time since 2020 that the show is facing off against “Succession.” That year “Succession” won the head-to-head battle. Then “The Crown” won in 2021 when “Succession” had no episodes eligible to compete. “Succession” prevailed in 2022 when “The Crown” had no new episodes competing. And now they’re back in combat against each other.

“Succession” has a few advantages. First, it beat “The Crown” the last time they faced each other. Second, “The Crown” premiered its episodes last fall while “Succession” is airing this spring, so the corporate drama will be fresher in voters’ minds when they vote over the summer. Third, this will be the last season of “Succession,” so voters will know this is their last chance to award the show.

However, “Succession” has never dominated the awards as decisively as “The Crown” did in 2021. So it’s possible academy members will resume their love affair with the dysfunctional royal family. Don’t count them out.

PREDICTthe 2023 Emmy nominees through July 12

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